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reid and speaker john boehner by phone on saturday when you see him this week he will be getting by with a little help from his friends ordinary unelected americans. joining us professor of economics at the university of michigan justin wool fers. great to see you. before i ask for your economic analysis i want to pose one question to my colleagues in new york, that is really about the optics of the president going straight forward and straight to the kisser as it were on the bush tax cuts, not really even talking about the fiscal cliff or the debt limit which looms in february or march. >> as we know there is no real fiscal cliff. it's more of a curve or a mole hill. it's serious and real but not going over the cliff. if there is something of a cliff-like situation, it's playing to the president's advantage. december 31st what he doesn't want, the bush tax cuts for the rich, will be gone. they'll also be gone with the middle-class tax cuts. two years ago the republicans tried to hold the president hostage and said listen, if you don't give us the bush high-end tax cuts we're not
boehner nor senate majority leader harry reid. senator, when are the democrats going to be talking about the hard decisions? >> alex, that is a very important point and i heard ed rendell refer to it a few minutes ago if your conversation. we all know that there is three parts to solving this problem. there is cutting expenditures, there are entitlements and there are revenue. democrats on the joint select committee that i chaired a year ago, could put serious proposals on that on the table. why we couldn't come to an agreement the republicans refused to put revenue on the table. they do that now, do it responsibly, fairly do it in a real way, then yes, we all know that we have to participate in some tough discussions and are willing to do that. but not until we get that piece that republicans have refused to put on the table so far, which is the revenue, mparticularly o the wealthy. >> governor rendell the senator channeled your name. i will direct this to you. when we talk about the conversation around entitlement reform. i think there's confusion in the american public about what prog
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